"Our Tools of Learning" : George Arthur Plimpton's Gifts to Columbia University

Handwriting > Page 2

G. D.

Directions For writing. Set forth for the benefit of poore Schollers

London: Printed for J. Stafford, 1656

Plimpton 092 1656 D11

This unprepossessing text is the earliest extant example of a form of copybook meant for the use of “poore Schollers” rather than writing masters and wealthy collectors. Still today the only complete copy known, Plimpton allowed it to be reprinted in facsimile by the Cambridge University Press in 1933, with an introduction by Stanley Morison.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton

EDWARD COCKER, 1631–1675

Arts Glory, or, The Pen-Mans Treasury : Containing Various Examples of Secretary, Text, Roman, and Italian Hands

London: Printed for, and are to be sold with other of the Authors [sic] works, by John Overton, 1666

Plimpton 092 1666 C64

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton


Joh. Amos Commenii Orbis sensualium pictus … Commenius’s Visible World … For the Use of Young Latine-Scholars

London: Printed by T. R. for S. Mearne, Book-binder, 1672

Plimpton 473 1672 C73

This pocket-sized Latin encyclopedia contains woodcuts and text in parallel English and Latin with descriptions of a wide variety of things, such as Writing (Ars Scriptoria) shown here, the Book-sellers Shop (Bibliopolium), the Barbers-shop (Tonstrina), and Tennis-Play (Ludus Pilae).

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton

GEORGE BICKHAM, 1684?–1758?

The Universal Penman

London: Printed for the Author, [1741]

Plimpton 092 1741 B47

The Universal Penman had a widespread influence on penmanship. Its plates, engravings made by the Bickhams from copies provided by most of the best-known penmen of the day, were used by writing masters as inspiration for their own work and as copies for their students. Abia Holbrook of Boston was one of the American writing masters known to have had a copy of the work. Many hands, especially versions of round hand and italic, are included. Although the format is quite luxurious, the book included practical as well as ornamental penmanship.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton


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